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Rick Brinkman  

Dealing with People You Can't Stand

Dr. Rick Brinkman is best known for his Conscious Communication™ expertise conveyed to millions of people via keynotes and trainings, radio, television, print interviews, and numerous award-winning books, videos and audio programs. Dr. Rick has been touring nationally and internationally since 1980 sharing his human behavior insights and practical communication strategies in his trademark entertaining and educational style.

After graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree from State University of New York at Oneonta, Dr. Rick earned his Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, OR. Following his residency in obstetrics and psychology, he opened a practice specializing in mind / body medicine. His success with his patients led him to further study communication and how it can profoundly affect one’s quality of life. During this time, he earned his certification as a Master NLP Practitioner, and became a trainer and professional speaker in association with the Tom Peters Group and other companies.

In 1994 he co-authored the international bestselling book, Dealing With People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst, published by McGraw-Hill. It has been translated into 12 languages and was updated and re-released in 2002. In 1998 he co-authored the McGraw-Hill book, Life by Design, Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, which is available in three languages. In 2002 McGraw-Hill released his third book, Dealing With Relatives: Bringing Out the Best in Family at Their Worst. In addition he is the author of four audio and two video training programs on customer service, communication and life management.

Dr. Rick has received numerous awards including Funniest Speaker of the Year by the Sales Forum and the Institute for Management Studies Distinguished Faculty award. His audio tape "Dealing with Difficult People" is on Columbia House's all time top ten best seller list. In 1988 he was one of only 15 people selected by the Tom Peters Group to present the In Search of Excellence and Thriving on Chaos programs. He is a regularly featured speaker for Young President’s Organization, and many associations and corporations.

Speech Topics

CAGE RATTLING 101: How to Thrive on Chaos, Embrace & Create Change

In a rapidly changing world innovation is not about getting ahead but simply surviving. Yet how do you embrace change instead of resist it because depending on which you chose you will get stressed and lose your energy or be enlivened with more energy. In this keynote Dr. Rick shows people how to get in a flow with change, how to look at what they do every day and see it in a new way, and how to take an attitude of continuous improvement. Dr. Rick’s compelling communication tactics include: 1) Famous last words. From the history files people who said it couldn't be for many of the things we now take for granted. 2) The ten strategies of the innovative organization. How to get yourself and others to be thinking about continuous improvement. 3) Being here now and letting go of stress in the midst of chaos. 4) Compelling communication strategies to wake others up and see what needs to be changed. 5) How to present and receive ideas. 6) The triangles of Control. Recognizing what you can't control and letting go of it, and maximizing what you can control and doing something about it. This program can be a keynote, or a more in depth breakout session for greater learning value!

CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION FOR LEADERS: Inspiring and Delivering Great Service

Designed for leaders of customer service teams, this keynote provides the foundation for how to inspire and deliver service excellence. By learning key strategies, your team will rally around a service vision and create an environment where everyone is constantly thinking of new ways to delight customers. Twenty years of Dr. Rick’s research has resulted in the discovery of 10 traits of all great service organizations. Here are just a few of his secret weapons: 1) Learn the #1 reason why customers stop doing business with you and how to avoid it. 2) Discover five simple communication tactics to find out what your customers really like, don’t like, and what the customer would love even more! 3) Have the ability to turn an upset customer into your most loyal customer. 4) Use these skills to always see your organization through the customer’s eyes. 5) Become a communication master by dropping Dr. Rick’s Magic Words—guaranteed to make your customers happy. 6) Why customer service is a moving target and how to constantly find ways to continuously delight your customers. 7) Internal Customers: keep your team happy applying service principles to the people you supervise. Dr. Rick’s keynote ensures that everyone on your entire management team knows how to use these communication secrets to inspire and give great customer service.


You know the importance of safety but how do you and your safety personnel communicate that to those on the front line and field people that come face to face with safety issues everyday. In this keynote Dr. Brinkman will show you how to communicate in a way that makes the safety message stick. With his entertaining, stand-up-comedy style that he is famous for, Dr. Rick Brinkman demonstrates compelling communication. He interacts with the audience so they can see how those compelling skills affect them. People in the audience are spellbound at the communication power they are capable of and Dr. Brinkman helps them apply it to "the safety meeting". Who this keynote is for: Anyone who must communicate about safety. This program is aimed at your safety coordinators, safety supervisors, safety volunteers, and safety professionals. Dr. Brinkman's clients in Safety include: the US Department of Energy, Potlatch, Pacific Power, the Forest Products Association, NW Transmitters, and more. The program includes: The Eight Rules of Compelling Communication Rule #1: Make Anchors on Purpose * Anchors are associations like the song you hear that takes you back. How to purposely make anchors to safety. * Anchoring ideas. * Anchoring with repetition. * Anchoring with humor: a joke or funny story that makes a point causes the idea to stick, and the joke may be repeated so it causes repetition. * Anchoring with your body and hands.

CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION: Creating & Nurturing Outstanding Customer Relationships

A great keynote for anyone with a customer. This lively and fun presentation takes the one-on-one game of customer service and shows your people how to win over customers no matter how they behave! Topic Covers: 1) Specific strategies to deal with tough upset customers 2) Surefire trigger words and phrases you can use or not use to either annoy or delight your customers. 3) The 5 personas of the service professional and when to use them: Host, Healer, Detective, Teacher and Advocate. 4) Don’t take it personally! How to deal with the emotional reactions of upset customers without becoming equally upset. 5) Dextification: How to stay out of a common and innocent trap that turns customers off. 6) How to make a customer happy and give them what they want, even when there is no way you can give them what they want. (This is not a misprint.) With this keynote, participants will become more powerful communicators always armed and ready to successfully win and keep customers. This program could also be a perfect breakout following a Dealing With People You Can't Stand keynote or vice versa.

CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION: Inspiring & Infulencing Others

You may realize the importance of a particular project or idea but how do you communicate effectively to others so that it is not only understood, but embraced? There are many verbal and nonverbal clues that persuasive people utilize to influence and motivate others. If your job is to communicate effectively to groups or individuals, this training will give you the communication power you need. Dr. Rick’s compelling communication tactics include: 1) The power of humor, body language and associations to get people to remember important things. 2) Using your entire body as a communication device. 3) How to blend to get past people’s resistance to "having heard this already". 4) Identifying your own personal "model" for creating confidence in front of anyone and any group. 5) Discover how to use the hidden power in language to subtly but firmly influence people. 6) Extracting people's buying and decision making strategies and utlizing that to get your message across. 7) How to establish rapport quickly with a group and hold their attention. Dr. Rick's message tears away the veil of communication that we take for granted and empowers people with the understanding and skills of what it takes to persuade others. Perfect for anyone who needs to be more effective inluencing others, either one on one or with a group.

CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION: To Bring Out the Best in People, To Deal with People You Can't Stand, How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst

By any title this is Dr. Rick's most popular program. In an energetic, humorous manner, Dr. Rick's message hits home with situations people find themselves in every day, and empowers them with practical skills. Communication is like a phone number, we need all the digits to get through and we need them in the right order. When we don't pay attention to our communication and its effects on people we often create difficult situations for ourself. By becoming a conscious communicator, having the skills and knowing the specific strategies to handle various problem behaviors, you empower yourself to be successful in bringing out the best in people (even at their worst). Dr. Rick’s compelling communication tactics include: 1) Understanding: Why do people act like they do? Why does one person throw a tantrum and another become quiet and withdraw? 2) Good Communication Skills: Recognize the basic skills that you use unconsciously when you get along with people and learn how to use them on purpose with difficult behaviors 3) How to use the power of your projections to influence people. 4) The 4 essential skills that will prevent most conflict. 5) Strategies to handle the 10 Most Unwanted Behaviors:Tank Attacks, Sniping, Grenade Tantrums, Know-it-alls, Think-they-know-it-alls, Yes people, No people, Maybe people, Nothing people, & Whining. This program can be a keynote, followed up with a more in depth breakout session for greater learning value! Include Dr. Rick's best selling book Dealing With People You Can't Stand, How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst for attendees and have a book signing.

LIFE BY DESIGN: Bringing Out the Best in Yourself

This keynote is based on Dr. Rick's bestselling McGraw-Hill book: Life by Design and his bestselling audio program with the same title. Some clients have tongue in cheek titled this keynote: "How to Get a Life." Dr. Rick shows people how to organize for success, establish clear priorities, separate work and personal time, recover time to do what is important and eliminate procrastination. It is based on Dr. Rick's many years as a counselor in private practice, helping people remove the obstacles to moving forward on what was dear to them in life. This is a thought provoking, feel good program, with a depth of content to impact people's lives even in a short keynote format. And because it is filled with Dr. Rick's trademark style of humor and memorable stories, many clients have used it to finish off a conference on a positive personal message. 1) How to recognize, clarify and stick to your priorities. 2) Mastering being here Now, and eliminating low priorities. 3) Values, Goals, and Plans, how to recover time for what is important to you. 4) How to know when you are winning, because you can be winning and think you are losing if you are not keeping score. 5) Your health, your energy, and it's connection to feeling in control. 6) Recognizing and dumping Pseudo-procrastination, the things you think you should do and shouldn't even consider! 7) The ten ways to get past procrastination once and for all! This keynoteis hugely popular because attendees learn personal skills that they can apply to both their work and personal lives. A book signing of Life by Design can be also be arranged.

MEETING MAGIC: Bringing Out the Best in People at Meetings!

There is a great mystery that cries out to be solved: why are meetings so awful and what can we do to change them? According to a Wall St. Journal survey, 98% of people agreed that 50% of their time in business meetings is wasted. Over the last twenty years, Dr. Rick has developed and taught organizations how to have great meetings that are enjoyable, shorter, effective and even fun! A Meeting MagicTM keynote will teach people how to: 1) Communicate in a way that bypasses conflict and creates an environment where everyone can really hear each other. 2) Make sure that the more aggressive types can’t dominate and the more passive types feel compelled to participate. 3) Appropriately involve people in decisions that affect their work. 4) Allow new ideas to evolve in a group process, instead of just being shot down. 5) Integrate people’s opinions and make it easier to make decisions. 6) Shorten meetings while getting more accomplished. Even in a keynote presentation, Dr. Rick's proven process will transform the meeting experience of the audience. You can also have a book signing of Dr. Rick’s latest book: Meeting Magic: Bringing Out the Best in People At Meetings. This session is also a perfect breakout to follow a "Dealing With People You Can't Stand" keynote.


In a time of rapid change and the need to do more with less, leaders must create an inspiring environment, empower others, give useful feedback, create an attitude of continuous improvement, and rally people around greater visions and goals. With Dr. Rick’s Conscioul CommunicationTM keynote for leaders, people will feel empowered to be great communicators and bring out the best in their teams. Topic Covers: 1) How the world has changed and why the old communication style of top down hierarchy no longer works. 2) The eight key communication strategies every leader has to influence and inspire people. 3) The importance of clear information on overall morale and performance. 4) Neutralizing conflicts between members and uniting them around a common purpose. 5) The leader’s role to create an environment of continuous improvement and comfort with change. 6) The top ten motivators of people. 7) Vision: how to clarify it, bring it into the awareness of your team so it turns into action. Conscious CommunicationTM for Leaders is based on Dr. Rick's years of research as a trainer for Fortune 500 companies, the Tom Peters Group and the Institute for Management Studies.


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